Larsen Librarian Nancy Cline to retire

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Nancy M. Cline, the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College for more than 15 years, will retire at the end of the academic year.

In an announcement to faculty, Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said, “Over the last 18 months of intense University focus on the libraries, Nancy has been an important contributor to the development of our new, shared vision for their future. Until her retirement, Nancy will continue her responsibilities as the leader of the Harvard College Library. She will also continue to contribute her knowledge and her considerable expertise to ensure a successful transition to a new, coordinated management structure for the University library system.”

Cline served on the Provost’s Task Force on University Libraries, which produced a report that was an important first step in Harvard’s efforts to align its library structure with the University’s evolving academic priorities. She served as a member of the Library Implementation Work Group that was subsequently established by the provost to carry forward the Task Force’s recommendations, and on three of its subgroups: Technological Infrastructure, Financial Model, and External Collaborations, which she chaired.

Smith noted that Cline will continue to advance specific work on a set of recommendations made by the External Collaborations subgroup. “She will develop a plan for assessing existing and proposed collaborations for their strategic value to the new organization and its programs, and advise on how the University can more fully realize the benefits of these relationships,” he said.

In 1996, Cline joined the University as the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, overseeing the operations of the major libraries and units within the Harvard College Library. Her tenure has been distinguished by many notable accomplishments including the renovation of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library; the increase in support for collections preservation; and the launch of Harvard’s Library Digital Initiative. Prior to her appointment at Harvard, Cline served as dean of University Libraries at Pennsylvania State University.

Over her 40-year career, Cline has come to be regarded as a national leader in the library profession. She currently serves on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the Libraries, the University of Miami Libraries Visiting Committee, the Cambridge University Board of Electors to the Librarianship, and is a member of the ITHAKA Board of Trustees. She has served as president of the Association of Research Libraries and on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Research Libraries Group Inc., and the Digital Library Federation, and was a member of the Oxford University Board of Electors for the Director of the University Library Services and Bodley’s Librarian Search in 2006. Cline has spoken and published on numerous topics including digital libraries, intellectual property, preservation, security, and library administration.

“The new vision for the Harvard Library we are now embracing, and the profound and positive changes this vision will bring, are an important part of her legacy, in keeping with the many advances she has forwarded over her long career here,” said Smith. “Her contributions to the FAS and the University will endure for generations to come, affecting us all for the better.”